Articles Posted in Utilities Law

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Rocky Mountain Power is required by governing regulations to provide “indicative pricing” to a producer seeking to pursue a power purchase agreement. In 2012, Ellis-Hall Consultants, which is involved in the development of wind power projects and sought to sell power to PacifiCorp through its Rocky Mountain Power division, received an indicative pricing proposal. Rocky Mountain Power later rescinded that proposal and refused to proceed with negotiations on a power purchase agreement under its earlier indicative pricing because the Utah Public Service Commission had since adopted new pricing methodology. The Commission concluded that Ellis-Hall was not entitled to continue to rely on the methodology used in Rocky Mountain Power’s indicative pricing proposal. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Ellis-Hall was entitled to proceed in reliance on the methodology set forth in the indicative pricing proposal it received from Rocky Mountain Power. View "Ellis-Hall v. Pub. Serv. Comm’n" on Justia Law

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Brian Wade, in the course of servicing a well situated under a high voltage line owned by Flowell Electric Association and Dixie Escalante Rural Electric Association, Inc. (collectively, Flowell), came into contact with the line, resulting in serious injuries to Wade. Wade was acting on behalf of Rhodes Pump II, LLC, his employer, at the time of the accident. Wade received workers’ compensation benefits from Rhodes and also filed a tort action against Flowell. A jury returned a verdict in favor of Wade and awarded both compensatory and punitive damages. Flowell subsequently brought this action for High Voltage Overhead Lines Act (HVOLA) indemnification against Rhodes. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Flowell, concluding that Rhodes had failed to give Flowell adequate notice of its “intended activity.” The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Flowell timely filed its HVOLA indemnification action; (2) the Workers’ Compensation Act’s exclusive remedy provision does not preclude liability under the HVOLA; (3) HVOLA does not violate due process or equal protection as applied to Rhodes; and (4) a genuine issue of material fact remains regarding whether Rhodes adequately notified Flowell of its intended activity. View "Flowell Elec. Ass’n v. Rhodes Pump, LLC" on Justia Law

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One of Summit Water Distribution Company's (SWDC) minority shareholders, Bear Hollow Restoration, filed a complaint requesting a review and investigation of SWDC's exemption from public regulation under the now-repealed Utah Admin. R. 746-331-1. The Public Service Commission dismissed the complaint on the basis that SWDC was not a public utility, and therefore, the Commission did not have jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed the Commission's dismissal, holding (1) the allegations in Bear Hollow's complaint were insufficient to establish that SWDC served the public generally or that the Commission had jurisdiction; (2) Bear Hollow was not prejudiced by repeal of Rule 746-331-1 because the rule applied only to internal agency decisions and the underlying substantive law remained in place; and (3) the Commission did not abuse its discretion when it refused Bear Hollow's amended complaint after the original complaint had been dismissed. View "Bear Hollow Restoration, LLC v. Utah Pub. Serv. Comm'n" on Justia Law